Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Looking back at some exceptional Ewe cloths from our archive.

As I look back on some of the more unusual and significant pieces from our archive of sold cloths I am struck once again by the diversity and sophistication of the finest Ewe weaving. As I noted in an earlier post I have been assembling a selection of images of Ewe cloths on my Pinterest page here. This project is continuing and I will be adding other pages looking at other major groups of West African textiles over the coming months. Visit Pinterest for the full group but here are some highlights.


Ewe men's cloth, early C20th: Usually these weft faced cloths are only red, blue and white, but on this one the weaver went wild with new colours. The only example I have seen like it. Now in a private collection.


Ewe men's cloth, circa 1900: the weaver combines a supplementary floating warp and a floating weft to create the tooth-like pattern in the black squares. This is the only time I have seen this rare technique on a weft-faced cloth. Now in private collection.


Ewe men's cloth, early C20th: Silk weft motifs on cotton ground, the black dyed cotton in the weft stripes had perished. Now in private collection.


Ewe men's cloth, early C20th: On this exceptional cloth the weaver has placed the supplementary weft floats on top of the weft faced blocks rather than between them as is typical. Now in the Metropolitan Museum.

Click on the photos to enlarge. To see our current stock of Ewe cloths click here.

Friday, 22 November 2013

A Baule Weaver, Ivory Coast, 1960s.


Vintage postcard, postmarked 1969, showing a  Baule or Dioula weaver in Côte D’Ivoire, wearing an indigo overdyed robe cloth and weaving an ikat pattern. Note the indigo on the loom’s heddles. This is not normal weaving attire so we can assume he put on a finished cloth or his best outfit for the photographer.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Some early images of Sierra Leone “country cloth” weavers, circa 1900.


I recently bought the card above, a rare image published circa 1900, that I had not seen before (click the photos to enlarge.) It prompted me to review the other views of Sierra Leone weavers that I have gathered over the years. Most show the distinctive “tripod loom” used by Mende, Vai, Sherbro and other groups and found only in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Others show odd variations on the standard West African narrow strip loom.


On this card, written in 1902 at Fourah Bay College, the sender notes that he saw one of the weavers and bought a 60 yard strip of cloth from him.





above - Photographer & publisher: Alphonse Lisk-Carew




above – Photographer: W.S. Johnson.


above - Photographer & publisher: Alphonse Lisk-Carew



Monday, 11 November 2013

Hairstyles, Togo, circa 1900


Vintage postcard, author’s collection.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

“Vanity Fair on Gifts” recommends Adire African Textiles…


In the “Interiors” section of the UK edition, Jemima Khan recommends Adire African Textiles….

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cloth of the month: a remarkable mixed pattern Ewe kente


Ewe767 - Highly unusual cloth in which a master weaver has used a virtuoso display of complex and finely controlled supplementary weft float motifs to unite a varied group of different warp stripe patterned and coloured strips. Motifs include two men in a canoe, a man with a caged bird, crocodiles, chiefs with umbrellas, various complex multibladed ceremonial swords etcetera. Cloths with this level of decoration were extremely expensive to commission and would only have been worn by the wealthiest men. Dates from circa 1930-50s. Condition excellent. Size: 118 ins x 74, 300cm x 188.



Click on the photos to enlarge..







Please visit our updated gallery to see some of our current stock of Ewe kente cloths here.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Khoikhoi woman, circa 1900


Vintage postcard, circa 1900. Angola, Khoikhoi or Khoisan woman.